I am going to dedicate this column to Tim “Big Dog” Graham.
All of Wellington is mourning his untimely death. He was such a caring fellow who has brought great joy and happiness to everyone who knew him. I have so many good memories of him. He held so many fundraisers to raise money for people who have medical debts and other needs; you could always ask him for donations and he never turned anyone down.
Big Dog asked me to make certain foods for his catering business, especially Swiss steak. He had me show his helpers when he rented the VFW kitchen so they could make it themselves. My Class of 1964 have had him cater our reunion many times. He even stopped to ask whether I needed a ride, as he knows I don’t drive.
Here’s a story I’ll never forget it. It was a winter when we had snow that never melted — it just snowed on top of snow. I was just getting off work and Big Dog asked if I wanted a ride home as he was just leaving the Wellington Party Center. I said yes. When he got to my house, he backed in. I got out, landing in a snow pile from all the plowing of my driveway. I tried to walk but the snow was up over my knees. I couldn’t move… and when I finally did, I fell face first into the snow. I kept trying to get up but couldn’t. I reached up and got a hold of his truck’s door handle, yelling for him to help me. He didn’t hear me and he was getting ready to pull out of my driveway. I started screaming for him to stop, which he did.
He got out of his truck and walked around the front in only a sweatshirt and shorts and tennis shoes with no socks on. When he saw me, he said he thought I was already in my house. Here he was, walking toward me in snow over his knees. When he got to me and tried to pull me up, I told him not to fall because we would have to try to flag down a car to help us both. All this time we were laughing. I had to go to the bathroom so bad. I kept telling him not to make me laugh or I’d have an accident. He finally got me up and walked me to the back of his truck so I could follow his tire tracks to my sidewalk.
I made him swear not to tell anyone about this.
Big Dog also flagged down two guys in a truck and had them plow my driveway and shovel my sidewalks and he paid them. He wouldn’t take my money. I watched him leave and stop to talk to my neighbor, Ed Warner, who was shoveling his driveway. I could see them laughing so I figured he told him. The next time I saw Big Dog, he said Ed wanted to know what we were laughing so hard about.
When I got to work the next day, boy was I ever teased. One guy asked me whether Big Dog and I had fun making snow angels — that was what he’d told all the cooks at the diner. Then he finally told everyone in the whole place what really happened.
I gave him a talking to for breaking his promise, but he said he just had to tell everyone. The whole place had a good laugh over it and I was teased for weeks.
I will always remember this. I have loved Big Dog as long as I have known him. He was always great with my children and everyone who knew him. I will truly miss him. He wouldn’t want everyone to be sad, as he brought so much joy and laughter to all his friends. He was a wonderful and caring friend who I’ll never forget.
Until we meet again, Big Dog, keep those angels laughing like you did for us. We all miss you.
Enjoy these recipes.
Tenderize a round steak according to how many people you are cooking for (the meat department will run it through their machine). Cut the steak in good portion sizes. In a bowl, mix flour, salt, pepper, and paprika. Dredge steak pieces on both sides in a frying skillet over medium high heat, then put in a roaster or electric roaster. When done, pour beef broth over it. Bake covered for two hours or until tender.
Note: When I make Swiss steak at home, I’ll put onions, mushrooms, and sometimes green peppers in mine. The green pepper gives it a richer flavor.
Tonya’s Delicious Corn
• 6 cans corn, drained
• 1 (8 oz.) cream cheese
• 4-5 slices jalapeno peppers, chopped (you can buy these jarred)
• Salt and pepper
Pour corn in slow-cooker, cut cream cheese in cubes and put in with corn and then the peppers. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Cook on high for 90 to 120 minutes or on low for three hours or so. If you want a hotter taste, put more peppers in (but be careful not to add too much). You can bake in your oven also on 350 degrees for 90 minutes.
Easy Scalloped Potatoes
• 2 boxes scalloped potatoes
• 1 can cheddar cheese soup
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 2 cups cubed ham
• Salt and pepper to taste
Make potatoes according to directions on box. Before you bake them, add ham, onion, soup, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Pour in casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees until done.
My Green Beans
• 3 cans green beans, two drained and one with liquid
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1/2 stick margarine
• Salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste
Pour green beans in medium sauce pan and add onion, margarine, and seasoning. Cook over medium heat until green beans and onions are done. Simmer on low for 30 minutes. Double recipe for a larger family.
Penny Case is a lifelong resident of Wellington who loves to cook and share recipes. Send recipes to her at 22 Johns St. or at firstname.lastname@example.org.